Parkinson’s disease- Parkinson’s disease is a condition caused by the breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. The breakdown of these nerve cells leads to a decreased level of dopamine in the brain, causing Parkinsonian symptoms. Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include tremor, slowed movement, stooped posture, imbalance, changes in speech, flattened facial expressions, and writing may become smaller or shaky. As the condition progresses, the patient might start to experience memory loss, changes in mood, difficulty swallowing, and trouble sleeping.
Lewy bodies refer to the abnormal clumping of a protein in the brain called alpha-synuclein. Lewy bodies are found in the brains of patients with Parkinson’s disease. The risk of developing Parkinson’s disease increases with age. Men are more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than women. Other risk factors for developing Parkinson’s disease includes having a family history of Parkinson’s disease and repeated exposure to chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides. It has been shown that a regular aerobic exercise routine helps prevent Parkinson’s disease.
A neurologist diagnoses Parkinson’s disease based on medical history, reviewing signs and symptoms, and a physical examination. A DAT scan shows abnormalities in the dopamine transporter. A DAT scan may be ordered to confirm the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease is treated with Carbidopa-Levodopa to substitute dopamine to improve Parkinsonian symptoms.
Essential tremor- Essential tremor is a neurological disorder that is characterized as the involuntary shaking, or tremors. The condition typically affects the arms and head. The uncontrollable shaking is typically worsened by purposeful movement and stress. Rest may help reduce the tremor. Some people with essential tremor may find activities of daily living such as writing, eating, and dressing difficult.
Migraines and Parkinson’s disease are linked to essential tremor. Patients with essential tremor may also have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
Essential tremor is diagnosed by a neurologist based on history and physical examination. Patients with mild essential tremor do not require treatment. However patients whose tremor interferes with their daily life may be treated with oral medication, external devices that reduce tremor, or deep brain stimulation.
Tardive dyskinesia- Tardive dyskinesia is a movement disorder characterized by involuntary and abnormal movement. These abnormal movements typically affect the face or arms. The condition is caused by the use of dopamine receptor blocking drugs, such as medication to treat psychiatric conditions.
The condition is diagnosed based on medical history, physical examination, and ruling out other conditions that might cause similar symptoms. A patient is diagnosed with tardive dyskinesia if the involuntary movements started at least a month after starting a medication that causes the movement disorder.
Restless leg syndrome- Restless leg syndrome is a neurological condition characterized by the urge to move the legs. Patients with restless leg syndrome often have abnormal sensation in the legs described as crawling, itching, throbbing, or pins and needles. The abnormal sensations caused a strong urge to move the legs. The symptoms of restless leg syndrome are usually worse at night, and may cause sleep disturbances.
Risk factors for restless leg syndrome include family history, pregnancy, and a history of chronic conditions such as iron deficiency anemia, Parkinson’s disease, renal disease, and diabetes mellitus.
Treatment of restless leg syndrome varies. If restless leg syndrome is caused by an underlying condition such as iron deficiency anemia, then the underlying condition will be treated. Other treatment options for restless syndrome include lifestyle changes such as a regular exercise routine and oral medication for relief of symptoms.